Saturday, December 10, 2016

Drinkmate Hibiscus Soda

When the waiter comes to the table and asks “still or bubbles?”, we always respond with “bubbles.” We love carbonated beverages, but try to avoid unhealthy sodas opting for natural tea instead. Imagine my excitement to learn we can have the best of both worlds! When the folks at iDrink Products sent us one of their new Drinkmate soda maker, we couldn’t wait to experiment. The Drinkmate allows you to carbonate anything, not just water like other popular sparkling water makers.

The difference is Drinkmate’s Fizz Infuser allows you to gently release the pressure after the carbonation process leaving your drink calmly sparkling in the bottle. You can even choose the amount you wish to carbonate; you don’t have to fill the entire bottle with liquid. Whether its cocktails, fresh juices or your favorite tea, you can fizz as much or as little as you please. And, you don’t have to worry about flat drinks in your fridge any longer.

I could not wait to fizz up my new favorite hibiscus tea (an infusion actually.) Assembling and using the machine is unbelievably easy, merely install the CO2 unit and you are good to go. A few pulses of the button and I saw foam start to foam in the accompanying pressure-resistant bottle. The safety valve made a slight hissing sound, so I knew that I had fizzed the tea just enough.

The hibiscus flower used in the tea grows in tropical and semi-tropical climates. You can find the fresh or dried hibiscus flowers at most International markets (look for “flor de jamaica”), or you can order them online. The tea is often infused with ginger and cinnamon and mixed with rum to make a festive rum punch which is very popular at Christmas time. Other variations made with fresh fruits, juices or extracts are used to make aguas frescas commonly consumed in Mexico, Central and South America.

Not many people are aware that almost 15-30% of hibiscus tea is composed of organic acids. These acids are malic acid, tartaric acid and citric acid which are commonly found in many fruits such as grapes and cranberries. The tea boosts immunity, promotes better skin, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, manages inflammation, and improves digestive issues. Hibiscus tea also has diuretic and choleretic effects, good for controlling blood viscosity by reducing blood pressure and enhancing digestion.

2 quarts water
½ to ¾ cup sugar (depending on how sweet you would like it to be)
1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
1 cinnamon stick
A few thin slices ginger
1 whole clove (optional)
Orange or lime slices for garnish

Put 4 cups of the water and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Add cinnamon, ginger slices, and/or a whole clove if you would like. Heat until boiling and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in the dried hibiscus flowers.

Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain into a pitcher and discard the used hibiscus flowers, ginger, cinnamon, and/or clove.

Pour the desired amount into the Drinkmate bottle, seal with the carbonating top and place in the machine.  Press the button on the top to add carbonation. It is best to do this is bursts until you hear the release of the CO2. If you push the carbonating button for too long, don’t worry, when the pressure in the bottle reaches the limit that the safety valves are designed to release pressure you will hear a sound of gas escaping.  For maximum fizziness, shake the bottle while it is still pressurized, then enjoy your hibiscus soda over ice with a slice of orange or lime.




Yum

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